Breaking Ground on Parkersburg's Riverfront Project

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For years folks in Parkersburg have been waiting for the city to fix up its riverfront, and Monday, city officials took a big step forward in making that happen.

It was ground-breaking day for Parkersburg's Riverfront Project.

This project is something that many say won't just enhance the riverfront, but will be beneficial for the entire city.

Nearly every day, Harry Batten gets a good look at Parkersburg's Riverfront. Being the captain of the Island Belle Sternwheeler, he takes hundreds of people to and from Blennerhassett Island. And for years, he's heard talk of revitalizing the riverfront.

"Now I say they're actually gonna get it done. I say the funding's in place and it's gonna be a reality," Batten said.

"There have been a lot of ups and downs and false starts, and finally today is the day that it begins," Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newelll said.

So with a ground breaking ceremony, the riverfront is set to become a major asset to the city.

"It'll bring a lot of people downtown, for a number of reasons," Mayor Newell said.

"The more improvements you make, the different types of activities you'll draw," Batten said.

By adding an amphitheater, a walking trail and more boating docks, the hope is that the riverfront will attract more tourists and bring more residents downtown.

"It'll prove to be a boom for the local economy because not only will the Island boat use it, it'll attract more boats from other places; as in maybe building up the Sternwheel Regatta again," Batten said.

Now that ground has been broken, the next step is to start construction, which is set for August 1st.

Mayor Newell expects the project to take anywhere from 18 months to two years, but says part of it should be ready to go by next summer.

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